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Reggie Miller: The Epitome of Success

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By Sassan K. Darian

Born Reginald Wayne Miller, Reggie endured tremendous amount of hardships growing up as a young child.

He sat by the kitchen window watching his older brother and sisters play basketball and all he could do was sit there helplessly wanting to get o­n the makeshift court which his father had made. Years later when Reggie was finally healthy enough to play basketball, his father would have to extend the court so Reggie could shoot from longer range without ruining his mother’s flowers, which helped him develop the greatest three point shot in NBA history.

Reggie Miller was born with his legs and hips contorted. Doctors told his parents Saul and Carrie Miller that over time Reggie would be able to eventually walk normally if he wore braces, but he would never be able to run normally. They were told sports were out of the question.

Reggie Miller was not a quitter. Through perseverance, he rose up and started to get involved in sports. His first love as a young child was baseball. To this day, Reggie Miller is a big fan of the “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim”. Over time, Miller realized baseball was too slow of a sport for him and he needed an action packed sport and decided to become more involved in basketball.

Reggie Miller was not deemed “good enough” to start for his high school basketball team. He was too “skinny” and not “athletic enough” but he was given his chance when a teammate took the wrong uniform to a road game. Miller proved to his coach and his teammates that he had an incredible ability to shoot the ball from long distance and soon became the starter.

Reggie tried to follow his sister’s footsteps and attend the University of Southern California, but USC did not offer him a scholarship. He  decided to attend University of California Los Angeles. He had a lot to prove to UCLA as he was given the scholarship o­nly after their top recruits turned the Bruins down. Reggie Miller ended up proving them wrong and when he left UCLA he became the 2nd all-time leading scorer o­nly behind the great Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

In the 1987 NBA draft, the President of the Indiana Pacers Donnie Walsh made o­ne of his wisest decisions in drafting the skinny kid out of UCLA. At the time, Indiana fans did not like the decision and booed Reggie Miller because he wasn’t the local “legend” Steve Alford. Mr. Alford ended up having an unsuccessful NBA career and wasn’t in the NBA for long. Reggie Miller ended up spending 18 seasons with the Indiana Pacers and becoming o­ne of the greatest players in the history of professional basketball.

As an NBA player, Reggie Miller was never the fastest player o­n the court, but his work ethic and dedication made him into o­ne of the greatest clutch players in his era. Reggie Miller fell short of his ultimate goal of a world championship, but there is no question that he was the most clutch player in his era not named Michael Jordan.

Throughout his career, Reggie showed the type of characteristics which define his personality. Reggie Miller was the type of player who was loyal to his franchise and to his city. Miller showed that despite all the odds, hard work and dedication can help make a person successful.

During his NBA career Reggie had to deal with personal issues as well that he had to overcome. His house was burned down by an arsonist in 1997. To this day the culprit has not been caught. He also had to undergo personal difficulties when he divorced his ex-wife Marita as their relationship grew distant. Despite it all, he formed the Reggie Miller Foundation for Burned Children. While other NBA players do charitable work for public relations image, Miller did it all under the radar such as visiting kids at the local hospitals. Miller is all class.

Miller holds several NBA records, including being the 12th all-time scorer as well as holding the record for the most three pointers made in the history of the NBA. Despite being known for his clutch shooting and his trash talking primarily in his younger days, Miller is the perfect role model for young children.

As a young teen, Miller and his sister would go to the Riverside playgrounds and play other youth for money by pretending his sister didn’t know how to play basketball. His sister, Cheryl, would end up being the greatest women’s player in history. Miller always played well with his back towards the wall because that was the way he was taught growing up with ankle braces as a young kid.

Now Reggie Miller is retired, the chants of Re-gggieee Re-gggieee o­n the basketball court will be forever gone, but his legacy lives o­n. Reggie Miller’s plans in his retirement include working o­n independent films such as “Beautiful Ohio” which is currently in production and recently signed o­n to work for TNT as a basketball analyst and commentator. Miller is the epitome of a great human being who has great compassion for others. Long live Reggie Miller.

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